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Latest & Greatest:
Become a Maryland Swimming Leader: Volunteer!
Tips for Parents on how to handle the 120 day rule if the family is moving
Tips for Parents of college swimmers returning home for the summer to train
How to end those defensive conversations with your athlete -a great video!
The Magic Helmet - a Powerful Video all parents should watch!
Swimming's Version of the Magic Helmet from the Atlantic Business Journal:
1. These are children!
2. This is just a swim meet; there will be another one month!
3. Parents should cheer for everyone!
4. Time does not measure the worth of a child!
5. The officials are human, as well as volunteers!
6. You and your child are not at the Olympics!
What Teachers Really Want To Tell Parents (From the USA Swimming Newsletter to Coaches)
By Ron Clark, as seen on CNN
This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.
I screamed, "You can't leave us," and she quite bluntly replied, "Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us."
Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list "issues with parents" as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.
So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?
For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
Please quit with all the excuses. And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks. His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some "fun time" during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn't his fault the work wasn't complete.
Can you feel my pain?
Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.
And parents, you know it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.
This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, "My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!"
Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal's office.
Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.
And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.
Teachers are walking on eggshells. I feel so sorry for administrators and teachers these days whose hands are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to be honest and speak their minds. If they make a slight mistake, it can become a major disaster.
My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, "Can you believe that woman did that?"
I felt hit in the gut. I honestly would have probably tried to get the mark off as well. To think that we might lose our jobs over something so minor is scary. Why would anyone want to enter our profession? If our teachers continue to feel threatened and scared, you will rob our schools of our best and handcuff our efforts to recruit tomorrow's outstanding educators.
Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner. If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me." If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.
We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you-- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.
That's a teacher's promise, from me to you.
Editor's note: Ron Clark, author of "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck -- 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers," has been named "American Teacher of the Year" by Disney and was Oprah Winfrey's pick as her "Phenomenal Man." He founded The Ron Clark Academy, which educators from around the world have visited to learn.
Children Who Swim Are Smarter: Study - Zeenews.com
Disability Information for Swimmers
Link to: The Most Powerful 3 Letter Word a Parent or Teacher Can Use
Link to: Know the APC's of Abuse
Energy Drinks are Harming Your Kids
Dr. Manny Alvarez
Energy drinks are labeled wrong. They don’t energize you – they stimulate you.
Research shows that beyond a brief caffeine high, there are actually no health benefits to energy drinks. In fact, the combination of different chemicals is likely to do more harm than good, especially for children.
Some of the unwelcome side effects of the drinks include elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches and interrupted sleep patterns. A recent study by the University of Miami suggests even more serious outcomes, such as heart palpitations, strokes and sudden death.
Listen, I know it’s hard to believe that something that looks like soda could cause any of these symptoms. But let’s look at the facts here: Energy drinks have three to five times the amount of caffeine as regular sodas do. They also include a number of unregulated herbal stimulants and natural blends like taurine, guarana, creatine and B-vitamins.
And a lot of the time, they don’t even bother to list these ingredients on the label.
Does this sound like a product you want your kid guzzling down to get them through the school day? I know we’re all busy, and your child probably has a number of extracurricular activities, tests and projects going on all at once, but energy drinks are not the answer.
The sad thing is that it all boils down to common sense. These products get on the market, and they have flashy colors and cool commercials. The advertisers are specifically targeting kids.
Then, the kids get hurt and everybody wonders: What happened?
What happened was that you have companies that don’t care about children’s health, government regulators that don’t know what they’re doing, people that don’t want to be regulated, and most importantly, the power of the almighty dollar.
From a health care perspective, it has been obvious all along. These things can lead to no good.
There certainly haven’t been any studies showing the health benefits of these drinks. Actually, it’s quite the contrary; these drinks can be dangerous, according to this latest study from researchers at the University of Miami.
So let’s stop the debate. Parents; don’t let your kids drink this stuff, and companies; stop targeting our kids.
Helping Put Athletics in Perspective for Your Child
By Aimee C. Kimball, PhD, CC-AASP
To strive for high standards of athletic excellence is commendable. But parents and athletes alike must realizethat the chances of actually becoming a professional are remote. Even if your child appears to be a gifted athlete, the odds are overwhelm¬ing. Given the reality of the situation, a career in professional sports or even participation at the elite college level is an unrealistic goal for the majority of young athletes. It is therefore important to impress upon youngsters that sports are but one part of their life. It is all too easy for youngsters and parents alike to harbor fantasies of turning pro and to sacrifice other areas of development in pursuit of that fabled status and its rewards of fame, money, and glory. It is not at all uncommon for athletesto become one-dimensional people. Putting young athletes on pedestals and granting them special favors may in the long run be a disservice to them. Be thankful if your youngster does have athletic ability, but at the same time help him or her to develop into a well-rounded person. As valuable as we believe athletics canbe for developing youngsters, we do not believe spiritual enrichment, social and aca¬demic development, and quality of family life should suffer. Sports can offer both fun and fulfillment, but there is more to lifethan sports. Perhaps the best advice we can give is to encourage your child to participate in sports if he or she wishes to, but at the same time do not allow the tail to wag the dog. Help your child to understand that sport participation is not an end in itself, but a means of achiev¬ing various goals. Teach your child to enjoy the process of participation for itself rather than to focus on such end-products as victories and trophies. Neither victory nor defeat should be blown out of proportion, and no parent should permit a child to define his or her self-worth purely on the basis of sport performance. By keep¬ing sports in perspective, you can make it a source of personal and family growth.
The USA Swimming Safe Sport program offers FREE parent education for our membership. The course is online and takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. We have had overwhelmingly positive reviews from those who have taken it but there are many more parents out there who should have this important information . We are all responsible for making sure our children are safe in swimming! Link for Free Parent Education
What every parent should know about safe racing starts:
To avoid risk of serious injury, no swimmer who has not been properly trained should attempt to perform a racing start, from either a starting block or the side of the pool, into less than six feet of water. USA Swimming has implemented a racing start certification program where a swimmer’s coach documents his or her professional judgment that a swimmer has demonstrated sufficient skill to safely perform a racing start into four feet of water.Although somewhat unusual, swimmers do not always participate in swimming competitions under the supervision of a certified coach. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure the swimmer does not attempt to perform a racing start in less than six feet of water if the swimmer has not been properly certified by the swimmer’s coach to do so.
Become one of the 2% of Club Volunteers
2% are "Leaders"
5-10% are "Doers"
15-20% are "do Somethingers"
68-88% are "Belongers" (Get them on Board)
The reason most clubs "never have anyone who volunteers"? Because they have never been asked!
Why Should You Volunteer to Help Your Swim Club?(ASCA Article)
Please review the attached document regarding rule changes and new legistation for non- athletes.
Important note from USA Swimming:
USA Swimming has passed a rule, that effective May 15th, 2009, no 12 and unders may wear a laser or full body swim suit in any age group competition. (Individual clubs, or LSC's, have the right to restrict their own athletes from wearing them at any time before that date.)Click here for full details.
Parents play a crucial role in the success of their swimmers. Unfortunately, many parents aren't sure what that role is. Below are some articles to aid you.
What can I do as a parent to help my swimmers to reach their full potential?
50 Things to Help your Child Achieve
10 Commandments for Swimming Parents
The Debrief - What to ask your swimmer after practice
What and When should my swimmer eat?
I need help with all these swimming terms and rules!
Understanding the rules for each stroke
Glossary of Swimming Terms
Benefits of USA Swimming Membership
I want to be a volunteer